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CPI(M) leader accuses TMC of trying to hijack FDI issue

Kolkata: CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim has accused Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee of trying to be more "Leftist than the Leftists" by attacking the government over reforms including FDI in retail.

However, the Trinamool Congress said that it is taking a principled stand and is not in competition with the Left.

CPI(M) Central Committee member Salim said, "It is good that she (Banerjee) is now opposing, but she is trying to take a holier than thou image. She is trying to be more Leftist than the Leftists".

"This is nothing new. It was also tried in Europe and South America and several other places to destroy the Left organisations," Salim told PTI.

He said, "This strange situation is unfolding in Kerala too where the Congress-led UDF is opposing the FDI policy because of the compulsion to deter the Left parties."

Holding that Mamata Banerjee was a product of the Congress, he said, "When in 1991 reform measures were first announced she did not oppose them. And, even in 2002 when FDI in retail was proposed she did not oppose it. It is good that she is now learning."

Countering the charge, senior Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said, "We are not competing with the Left in opposing multi-brand retail because we have taken a principled position on the this even when we were in UPA 2 government."

Roy, who was among the six ministers belonging to the Trinamool Congress who resigned on September 21 following the party's withdrawal of support to UPA government, said then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced in Parliament that FDI in multi-brand retail would not be implemented without the consensus of all stake-holders.

"So, our position is absolutely independent of the Left. We opposed FDI in the interest of billions of small traders in the country," Roy said.

CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta, however, said "There is no question of Trinamool Congress hijacking the issue. We have been opposing FDI much before TMC decided to oppose it. We have been raising the issue in Parliament. It is good that TMC is also opposing on this question."

Observing that every party has its own space in politics, Dasgupta said, "Left was born long before Trinamool Congress came into existence."

Roy said that his party felt that ultimately big retail giants like Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco would not help farmers as the retail giants would be allowed to source 70 per cent of their merchandise from outside the country.

"This will ultimately go against the interests of farmers," he said.

He said that his party would campaign against FDI in retail in Delhi and other places. "Our campaign has already started in West Bengal and in the winter session of Parliament we shall definitely move a resolution opposing FDI in multi-brand retail and it will be then clear who are with us or against us," he said.

Chief Whip of the Left Front Legislature Party Abdur Rejjak Mollah said both the Left and the TMC were opposing FDI and other measures of the central government though the form of protest might be different.

Mollah, a CPI(M) leader, said he supported the way Mamata Banerjee was protesting the issue of rising prices of fertiliser prices.

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